The Canada West Football Playoffs get underway this weekend with the Hardy Cup semi-finals. The University of Alberta Golden Bears play the University of Calgary Dinos (Saturday, Telus TV, 12pm PT) at McMahon Stadium in Calgary followed by the University of Regina Rams at the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (Saturday, Telus TV, 3pm PT). The Dinos are coming off the best record in the conference this year at 7-1, but got spanked by the Golden Bears 53-3 last week. The Dinos however used their rookie backups primarily in their loss to Alberta and fans should know that Calgary beat Alberta 55-26 to open the season when both teams played their starters. The Thunderbirds trounced the Rams 44-15 last week after losing to them in Week 1 by a score of 36-20. UBC’s only other loss all season came on September 29 when they were beaten 31-17 to Calgary.
Here are the other events I will be watching this weekend with Canadian content:
Saturday—CFL—Edmonton Eskimos @ Saskatchewan Roughriders—TSN—4pm PT—Second place could be on the line in the West if the Calgary Stampeders beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday. But wait? Do the Eskimos really want to finish second in the West? I would say absolutely not. The Eskimos would have a much better opportunity going to the Grey Cup by finishing fourth in the West. This is a game the Roughriders or Eskimos may not want to win—which could add to the intrigue.
Saturday—CFL—Toronto Argonauts @ British Columbia Lions—TSN—7pm PT—Unlike the game before it, a win by a team in this game is actually beneficial. If the Argonauts beat the Lions, they win the East and a bye to the second round of the playoffs. A Lions win and the Ottawa Redblacks win the East. The Lions have more than just pride on the line. This is unofficially the final game that Wally Buono will be coaching in his Canadian Football League career.
Saturday—UFC 217—Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping—PPV—10pm PT—Canadian UFC fans have been anticipating this fight for a while. For the first time since November 16, 2013, Georges St-Pierre of Montreal is entering the octagon, however this time it is as a middleweight and not as a welterweight. His opponent in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York City is Michael Bisping—a Cyprus-born Brit married to an Australian and now living in the United States. St-Pierre has a 12 match winning streak and has not lost in 11 and a half years.
Sunday—MLS—Eastern Conference Semi-Finals—Game 2–New York Red Bulls @ Toronto FC—TSN–12pm PT—In the second game of a two game total goal series, Toronto FC has a 2-1 lead over the New York Red Bulls after a win at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on Monday. Toronto FC got goals from Victor Vazquez and Sebastian Giovinco. However there are questions whether or not Vazquez will play Sunday because of a hip/abductor injury he suffered on Monday. The winner will likely face the Columbus Crew, who have a 4-1 lead on New York City FC after the first leg of their series.
Sunday—NHL—Detroit Red Wings @ Edmonton Oilers—Sportsnet West—1pm PT—The Edmonton Oilers lost another tight hockey game on Wednesday as they lost 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Place. The Oilers fell to 3-7-1. The only team worse than the Oilers at the moment in the Western Conference are the Arizona Coyotes, who are 1-12-1.
Sunday—NHL—Montreal Canadiens @ Chicago Blackhawks—Sportsnet—5pm PT—Like the Oilers, it has been a rough start for the Montreal Canadiens, who are last in the East with only nine points. There is a chance Carey Price will not be playing as he is out with a lower body injury. The Blackhawks are coming off a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers as Corey Crawford picked up his first shutout of the season on Wednesday.
Sunday—NHL—New Jersey Devils @ Calgary Flames—Sportsnet 360—6pm PT—One of the most surprising teams in the NHL this year are the New Jersey Devils. At 9-2, the Devils lead the Metropolitan Division. The Devils are led by Taylor Hall, who leads the team with 12 assists and 15 points. A native of Calgary, Hall was born in southern Alberta while his father Steve competed on Canada’s national bobsled team.